Title: The Cycling Cartoonist – An Illustrated Guide to Life on Two Wheels
Author: Dave Walker
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport
What it is: Cartoons with a cycling twist
When did cycling cartoons stop being a thing? Back in the day, they were an essential part of cycling coverage. Scrolling through Gallica's digital archives of old French newspapers and magazines, the cartoons are an absolute delight – some the essence of simplicity itself, some complex and well crafted. René Pellarin – Pellos – is probably the best known exponent of the craft. (The Comic had Johnny Helms.)
Legend has it that cycling cartoons were how Frank Dickens – The Great Boffo – got his big break (but legend has an awful habit of stretching the truth to breaking point). But – with few notable exceptions – the cartoonist's art has today been superseded by graphic design and info-bleeding-graphics. Part of the problem here could be that cycling humour has for several generations now been stuck on the n+1 joke. Part of the problem here could be that there's not many cycling cartoonists.
Time to meet Dave Walker.
For the last dozen or so years Walker has been filing weekly cartoons for The Church Times. A keen cyclist, he's also been crafting cycling based 'toons. More than a hundred of which have been collected together in The Cycling Cartoonist – An Illustrated Guide to Life on Two Wheels.
Walker's cartoons are affectionate – there's no room here for the bantz-and-snark that others pass off as humour – and come with dry chuckles, gently poking fun at the absurdities of modern cycling.
With luck, Walker may be at the forefront of a renaissance of the art of cycling cartoons. I for one would be happy to see more exponents of the art showing off their talents if they are as good as this.